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A common saying among surgeons who have treated people with frostbite is "frostbite in January, amputate in July." It often takes months before the final separation between healthy and dead tissue may be determined. If surgery is performed too early, the risks of removing tissue that may eventually recover or leaving behind tissue that may eventually die are great. Some radiographic techniques currently are being investigated that may be able to make this division much sooner, thus permitting earlier definitive treatment.
Beyond this waiting period, 65% of people will suffer long-term symptoms because of their frostbite. Common symptoms include pain or abnormal sensations in the extremity, heat or cold sensitivity, excessive sweating, and arthritis.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/9/2014
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